Thursday, June 17, 2010

The grey areas on the map...

...are grey for a reason. This is what me and Pierre, a friend of mine, discovered one evening-stroll a couple of days ago. We were just walking down Nevski-Prospect like two normal tourists - though obviously we already feel like semi-Russians - and took a right through a small park, when we decided to cross the park and make a large detour back to where we came from. And so we did. Already the park was semi-sketchy, more random trees and patches of grass littered with cigarettes and broken glass (though you can find broken glass anywhere, even in front of my house). Once we exited it though, it seemed as if the happy-and-pretty St. Petersburg was just a huge projection that somebody turned off without telling us. Instead of picturesque buildings stood dilapidated former factories, in which ominously still random parts were spouting some kinds of fumes. Half-finished Soviet buildings still invited people to rent them, as though they were mocking themselves. On one fish factory, nature had taken over and little trees were sprouting from the chimney. While we were making our way along the river to the next area on the map with buildings - for now we had understood that the grey areas didn't mean good things - we walked past two packs of stray dogs that were sleeping (though that black one opened his eyes when we were passing, I'm sure of it) and arrived at a building site exactly at the underground passage of the railroad tracks. We were pretty sure that we weren't allowed over the building site, but had to continue on, so our only option was to climb over the tracks - always careful that no train was arriving from either side - and descend at the other side, walking faster when we realized that the other side had a security guard who most probably was there to prevent passers-by to enter the building site we were exiting. Onwards we went, finally finding areas with advertizement and inhabited buildings again, though the sketchy parts of town were apparently not over yet: when we were walking along this multi-lane semi-highway, a pack of 8 dogs, very straggly and very large, were running right at us. We decided to retreat carefully and cross the street, of course just in case. Once on the other side of the street, this car pulled over and two bulky, bald guys walked straight at us, but then decided to walk by in the last minute. Then we checked the map, crossed the street, and were in pretty Petersburg again! The hologram was working again. And we learned to avoid the grey areas of the map in the future. You know, just in case.

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